Most comic book characters use their superpowers to fight on the right or wrong side of the law. For the superheroes and villains who don’t have special abilities, many of them must rely on an impressive arsenal of weapons to keep them alive. Bow and arrows, spears, tridents, maces, hammers, axes, knives and swords have been wielded by an endless supply of characters.
However, when you need a reliable weapon by your side, a gun can be a very powerful tool to take with you on your quest for justice or the next great heist. Sometimes all you need is a really, really big gun in order to make a statement. CBR counts down the 15 most powerful guns in comic books.
15. STAR-LORD’S ELEMENT GUN
The spacefaring hero known as Star-Lord might have done big things in his career, but he’s done it all without the aid of superpowers. He’s an excellent athlete, hand-to-hand combatant, and strategist, but he needs a weapon to do damage in a fight against evil cosmic forces. This is why Star-Lord uses his Element Gun, a special meta-pistol that has the ability to project any of the four classical elements of fire, water, earth, wind. It has been in the possession of Peter Quill since the character’s inception in the pages of “Marvel Preview #4 – Starlord First House: Earth” by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan.
Star-Lord’s origin has been altered many times over since his introduction in 1976, but his signature weapon is usually present. His father is J’Son, heir to an intergalactic thrown. When he comes to Earth, he meets Peter’s mother and leaves behind a special weapon for his future son to find, a gun that can only be used by a member of his family. When the Badoon show up to eliminate the next heir, Peter uses this gun to fight off his attackers before going on to become Star-Lord.
14. CAPTAIN COLD’S COLD GUN
Captain Cold has typically been portrayed as a career criminal and the leader of the Rogues. Driven to a life of crime after dealing with an abusive father, Leonard Snart became fascinated with the cold. He knew his career would soon come to an end if he couldn’t find a way to stop the Flash and counteract his speed, so he created the cold gun and became Captain Cold.
The gun has the ability to harness the power of absolute zero and can freeze anything it hits instantly. Snart can also use it to generate a cold field around him that can slow down or freeze the people near him. While he created the first cold gun in the comics, the weapon was created by Cisco Ramon on “The Flash” before it was stolen from S.T.A.R. Labs. He also internalized the powers of his gun at one point during the New 52, but he eventually went back to the gun.
13. HEAT WAVE’S FLAMETHROWER
Simply put, Mick Rory is an unstable pyromaniac who has been dealing with this problem since he was a child. His obsession eventually led to him burning down his childhood home in the middle of the night with his family still inside. It wasn’t until he saw the other Rogues in action in “The Flash” #140 from 1963 that he created his gun-sized flamethrower to become the villain known as Heat Wave.
His flamethrower is able to project immense streams of flame that reach temperatures beyond 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat Wave also pairs his gun with a special protective costume that contains additional accelerants to ensure that his pyromaniacal sprees can continue. Starting with the New 52, Mick Rory’s weapon became a chest-mounted cannon that could fire streams of flame whenever he felt the need. Wherever his fire comes from, it’s been shown that it is hot enough to melt the Flash’s costume on his body.
12. MIRROR MASTER’S MIRROR GUN
Yet another member of the Flash’s Rogues Gallery makes this list thanks to the unbelievable power of the Mirror Gun. Sam Scudder, the original Mirror Master, was introduced by John Broome and Carmine Infantino in 1959 as a criminal who became obsessed with mirrors and reflections. He discovered how to enter a mirror and became a costume criminal that frequently came to blows with the Flash. It wasn’t until 1963’s “The Flash” #136 that Scudder developed the Mirror Gun.
As a handheld firearm, the Mirror Gun uses a series of mirrors to reflect light and use it as a weapon. The gun allows the user to create light duplicates and can open portals in reflections that can be used to travel through dimensions. After the death of Sam Scudder in “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” a new Mirror Master appeared named Evan McCulloch, who took up the costume and gun. In the New 52, Scudder was briefly able to open portals without the use of his weapon before going back to his traditional depiction.
11. SPIDER JERUSALEM’S BOWEL DISRUPTOR
The drug-addled hero of “Transmetropolitan,” Spider Jerusalem is a dangerous man in the futuristic society he calls home. As a brilliant but unstable gonzo journalist, Spider goes to any length in his quest to acquire and disseminate The Truth to the public. Sometimes — most times — that effort leads to more violence than any one powerless man could expect to participate in.
Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson have Spider Jerusalem use plenty of different weapons over the course of the comic book series. His favorite of all, however, is the odd firearm known as the Bowel Disruptor. It is a (mostly) non-lethal alternative to more conventional guns, but it brings the pain nevertheless. The Bowel Disruptor is able to cause instant and painful loss of bowel control in its target. The gun has multiple settings, allowing him to choose from a range of simple diarrhea to incredibly painful rectal prolapse. The bowel movements are so painful that they often render the victim unconscious.
10. MR FREEZE’S FREEZE GUN
Captain Cold isn’t the only supervillain who has gained a mastery over cold and learned to weaponize it. A gifted cryogenicist, Victor Fries was forced to freeze his wife in order to save her life while he worked on a cure for her deadly disease. A lab accident transformed him into the villain that would be known as Mr. Freeze. Unable to survive outside of sub-zero temperatures, Freeze created a cryo-suit to keep him alive.
He also managed to weaponize his cryogenic technology into an actual weapon. He frequently uses it as his weapon of choice while committing crimes, able to freeze anything it hits. When firing upon people, the Freeze Gun encases them in a thick layer of ice that can either kill the target instantly or leave them suffering for long periods of time. Freeze can also use the gun to weaken structures and easily break down walls.
9. LOVE PISTOLS
Behold the power of love. During Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s reinvention of Wonder Woman in her New 52 series, Diana becomes the protector of a human woman named Zola and her unborn baby. When Zola is kidnapped by Hades and brought to the Underworld to be his wife, Wonder Woman enlists a contingent of gods to her with the rescue mission. Eros, AKA Cupid, lends her his Pistols of Love to help in the fight against Hades.
The Pistols of Love have the power to make people they shoot fall in love. The guns prove to be powerful enough to break through Diana’s bullet-deflecting bracelets and hit her in the chest. After Zola is saved and her group of gods escape the armies of the Underworld, Wonder Woman uses the gun to shoot Hades. At that moment, he is looking at himself in a mirror, causing him to fall in love with himself.
8. THE CRIMSON AVENGER’S GUNS
Jill Carlyle was a criminal attorney who purchased the pistols of the original Crimson Avenger to kill a criminal she was unable to put away. Upon dispatching her victim, she became enslaved to the guns and became a Spirit of Vengeance, doomed to avenge the deaths of others. The cursed weapons allow her to phase through solid objects to get at her target. They also involuntarily teleport the Crimson Avenger to her next assignment. This means she is always on the move looking for her next victim.
The guns themselves possesses their own magical abilities as well. First of all, being cursed guns, they don’t even have triggers and they never run out of ammo, so it’s all done through magic. The bullets have proven to be able to penetrate almost anything and follow their target until they hit. Essentially, once the Crimson Avenger comes after you, there is no hope. She’s going to get you.
7. GHOST RIDER’S HELLFIRE SHOTGUN
The early 1990s were a weird time for Johnny Blaze. After several years as Ghost Rider, Blaze loses his connection to the Spirit of Vengeance and is replaced by Danny Ketch. Fearing that it was the doing of his enemy Zarathos, the now-powerless Blaze went after Ketch with a shotgun in “Ghost Rider” #14. The new Ghost Rider fought off the weapon and it became imbued with hellfire to become a supernatural firearm.
The Hellfire Shotgun is a small shotgun that is able to fire hellfire. It also never runs out of ammunition, so it can be used over and over again. The weapon has been used many times over the years to fight off demonic threats. Ghost Rider used the gun to destroy Lilith’s offspring known as the Lilin. It also helped to fight off the dangerous Vengeance. It was eventually revealed that the Hellfire Shotgun was powered by Johnny Blaze’s own abilities and became a staple in Ghost Rider’s arsenal.
6. THE HOOD’S GUNS
Parker Robbins has done his best to acquire power in the oddest of items. Using a magical cloak and boots, he gained several new powers, including the abilities to turn invisible and levitation. He also gained control over several of the Infinity Gems at one point that granted him near-limitless power. However, it was the Norn Stones that turned his guns into forces for destruction.
After acquiring the Stones of Norn from Loki in “New Avengers” #56, the Hood’s guns became mystically charged and were able to cause gigantic explosions. The guns proved to be capable of destroying buildings and fatally injuring his targets. Robbins went on to kill several criminals and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who managed to cross his path. The stones were eventually taken back by Loki during the fight to stop the Sentry, who had been taken over by the Void. The Hood’s guns are left powerless once again.
5. ACE OF WINCHESTERS FROM CONSTANTINE
The Ace of Winchesters was first introduced by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon in “Hellblazer” #74 from 1994. The magical rifle was created by an occultist using the steel of a halo, gems from Hell, and the bones of a saint to give it the ability to utterly destroy demons. It eventually passed into legend and became a collector’s item. In the story, John Constantine is hired by a private collector who pays him a lot of money to take possession of the gun.
It shows up again in Ennis’ “Hitman” comic book series where Tommy Monaghan, Catwoman, and Etrigan the Demon used it to kill the demon gunslinger known as the Mawzir. The gun also appeared on the “Constantine” television show in the episodes “The Devil’s Vinyl” and “Waiting for the Man.” The Ace of Winchesters is modeled after a Winchester lever-action rifle, which is where the name comes from.
4. HELLBOY’S GOOD SAMARITAN
Hellboy’s really big gun ranks supreme over all the rest on this list. The Good Samaritan is an oversized revolver that is capable of firing up to four large caliber rounds before needing to be reloaded. It was gifted to him by the Torch of Liberty when Hellboy was only twelve years old. While he wields the gun over many different forms of media, the name is only mentioned in the film version.
The gun can fire bullets capable of penetrating almost anything and has proven to be resistant against enemy attacks. It was created using fragments of church and biblical relics, including the True Cross, blessed silver and copper, and other powerful metals that can fight off monsters like vampires, werewolves, and witches. From time to time, Hellboy loads the gun with special rounds called Whoppers, which are loaded with white oak, holy water, garlic, silver, and cloves to kill his enemies in one blow.
3. JUDGE DREDD’S LAWGIVER
In order to keep the peace and protect the law of Mega City, Judges require a next-level gun that can take care of the evildoers they have to face. The Lawgiver has been Judge Dredd’s customary service weapon for years now. It features semi and fully automatic firing capabilities, a targeting feature, a variety of special ammunition, and a programmed palm print feature that makes the gun go boom if the wrong person attempts to use it.
The Lawgiver is the gun that Judge Dredd uses throughout his appearances in the comics, the 1995 film “Judge Dredd,” and the 2012 “Dredd.” You’ve seen it in action. It can shoot normal bullets in standard mode, but it has other options available to the wielder. It can fire heat-seeking ammo, metal-coated bullets that can ricochet, incendiary rounds capable of igniting the target on fire, armor-piercing bullets, and highly explosive rounds that can do a lot of damage.
2. THE SIX GUNS FROM THE SIXTH GUN
The series “The Sixth Gun” by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt proved to be an indie comics darling and Oni Press struck gold. It also helped launch Bunn’s writing career at DC Comics and Marvel. The book introduces six mysterious and powerful guns to the American Old West. Each pistol is numbered and has its own unique power.
All six are more powerful than ordinary guns and none of them ever need to be reloaded. One gun strikes with the force of a cannon, another one shoots hellfire, like Ghost Rider’s shotgun. One inflicts a flesh-rotting disease on all those it wounds, and another is able to summon those it kills as undead servants. The Fifth allows the wielder to survive any wound, while the titular Sixth Gun grants the owner visions of the past and future. During the story, Becky Montcrief comes into possession of the Sixth Gun and Drake Sinclair eventually gets his hands on the Fourth.
1. THE PHOENIX GUN
There aren’t many guns more powerful than one that shoots the Phoenix Force. In 2010, Spider-Man and Wolverine team up for the six-part series “Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine” by Jason Aaron and Adam Kubert. The story takes place in an altered timeline where Peter Parker and Logan are sent back and forth through time in order to prevent the end of life on Earth. To stop the menace that is Doctor Doom’s consciousness inside Ego, the Living Planet, the heroes must rely on the power of the mysterious Phoenix Gun.
Knowing that the weapon is powerful enough to destroy the user, Wolverine takes the gun from Spider-Man and uses it himself. The force of the blast kills Logan but is able to destroy Doom and prevent unthinkable destruction. Thankfully, Wolverine gets better and everything goes back to normal. At the end of the story, we find out that it was Beast who created the Phoenix Gun.
Was there a gun you feel should have been part of this list? Sound off in the comments and let us know!